Sep 15, 2008

21st Sept 2008: Screening of Eternity And A Day

Eternity And A Day
A Film by Theo Angelopoulos
Country : Greece
Year : 1998
Greece with English subtitles
Run time : 132 minutes
21st Sept 2008; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Call : 94430 39630

Additional screenings :
1. Introduction to Eternity And A Day by Angelopoulos scholar and Head of Film Studies of University of Oklahoma , Andrew Horton.
2. Analysis of a Shot

``Eternity and a Day '' from Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, is a gorgeous elegy of a film - a slow, austere meditation about a dying writer and his thoughts on family, art and mortality.

A winner of the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, it's the most uncommercial, least trendy of movie concepts -- which is part of its appeal. Angelopoulos returns to the same poetic terrain he explored in ``Ulysses' Gaze'' and ``Landscape in the Mist.'' In place of ``action'' and conventional narration, ``Eternity'' deals in philosophical ruminations, slippery shifts in time and long, hypnotic tracking shots that seem to whisper to us, ``Slow down, observe. Listen.''

German actor Bruno Ganz stars as Alexandre, a celebrated writer who closes up his seaside apartment in Thessaloniki after learning that he's terminally ill. As he spends his final hours outside of the hospital wandering around a seaside town, Alexander is overwhelmed with recollections of the one perfect day in his life. The memory may not be of things as they truly were, but instead of events as he wishes they could have been.

All of the present day action of Eternity and a Day takes place during a twenty-four hour period. The flashbacks, which really aren't "flashbacks" in the traditional sense since the aging Alexander replaces his younger self in them, are likewise constrained to a limited period of time. The most poignant and effective portions of the film are those in which Alexander removes his mind from the present and deposits it into that perfect memory.

Angelopoulos glides easily between past and present, between uncertain reality and the sweet, perfumed world of memory. Angelopoulos brings a lot of philosophical freight to his films but leaves them open to interpretation. They're occasions for our own memories and associations. The dialogue, though poetic, is very spare, relying mostly on visual cues and almost talismanic words to relay the script's meaning.

Overall, Angelopoulos' film gives the viewer a sense of the infinite . It contains moments of rare beauty and its contemplation of life, death, regret, and memory has a subtle power.

Theo Angelopoulos

Theodoros Angelopoulos (born 27 April 1935) is a celebrated Greek film director.

Angelopoulos studied law in Athens, but after his military service went to Paris to attend the Sorbonne. He soon dropped out to study film at the IDHEC (Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies) before returning to Greece. There, he worked as a journalist and film critic.
Angelopoulos began making films after the 1967 coup that began the Greek military dictatorship known as the Regime of the Colonels. He made his first short film in 1968 and in the 1970s began making a series of political feature films about modern Greece: Days of '36 (Meres Tou 36, 1972), The Travelling Players (O Thiassos, 1975) and The Hunters (I Kynighoi, 1977). He quickly established a characteristic style, marked by slow, episodic and ambiguous narrative structures and long takes (The Travelling Players, for example, consists of only 80 shots in about four hours of film). These takes often include meticulously choreographed and complicated scenes involving many actors.

Angelopoulos has made 19 films so far. His regular collaborators include the cinematographer Giorgos Arvanitis, and the composer Eleni Karaindrou.

At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, during which Angelopoulos received the coveted Palme d'Or for Eternity and a Day, the filmmaker remarked, "I belong to a generation slowly coming to the end of our careers". Nevertheless, despite his seemingly resigned statement, he continues to work diligently at his craft, having begun filming the first installment of an ambitious, large-scale romantic trilogy on the star-crossed destiny of two people from Odessa during the early part of the 20th century. The century-spanning, international three-part epic—the latest chapter in Angelopoulos' evolving, 'work in progress' oeuvre—is scheduled for completion in 2004.

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